Cafe Tirolo – Arlington

11 03 2011

“And I don’t cook, either. Not as long as they still deliver pizza.” – Tiger Woods

Cafe Tirolo

Ballston's Greatest Secret?

One cold Thursday back in January we needed somewhere to eat dinner quick. Several usual suspects were named: Chipotle, Super Pollo, Italian Store, etc. Then a new challenger entered the melee, Cafe Tirolo. Apparently it had everything we could ever want (cheap pizza at a good price) so off we went. The reason I had never heard of Cafe Tirolo is that it is hidden, as in tucked behind the back of an apartment building across the street from Central Library hidden. You would never know this little place existed, and thankfully it does.

I was extremely famished that evening so I ordered a medium Pizza Bianca for $5.95 as soon as I saw it on the menu. The order system was standard for small pizza places; place your order and pay at the counter, sit down and your pie is brought to you. As soon as the pizza hit the table I sprinkled on some red pepper flakes and then did not stop eating until it was done. The medium was the perfect amount of a truly famished individual.

The pizza had a nice, thin dough and crust with an excellent consistency and chew to it. You could taste the olive oil used to make it, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly greasy. Tirolo’s had achieved that sometimes hard to reach middle point between dry and too greasy. The cheese and the garlic based white sauce worked together perfectly to just bring the pizza together. I’m a big fan of white pizza so I could not have been more satisfied. My friends had split a large and they too seemed to be enjoying it just as much as I was. They also ordered desserts, which looked great and according to them tasted amazing.

I highly recommend Cafe Tirolo to anyone that wants good cheap pizza without a huge wait or fancy atmosphere. The other items on their menu also looked extremely appetizing so it seems you can’t go wrong with whatever you order. Cafe Tirolo is the out of the way pizza place/deli that only you and your friends knew about in college and took full advantage of.

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(Note: The image used above is not my own. Clicking on it will take you to the original source)

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2 Amy’s – Cleveland Park

5 12 2010

“You better cut the pizza into four pieces, because I’m not hungry enough to eat six” – Yogi Berra

2 Amy's Exterior
Where are the crime fighting turtles?

One of the restaurants that kept popping up on the Chowhound DC/Baltimore board was 2 Amy’s. A lot of people consider it a must eat destination in DC and the unofficial title holder of “Best Pizza”. Despite all the buzz surrounding 2 Amy’s, I wasn’t really drawn to it until my friend Gchat raved on and on about the food and insisted that we go. One Friday evening I boarded the Metro and rendezvoused with two friends Spikes and Gchat who had just got off from work and off we went to the mecca of pizza. In big letters on 2 Amy’s window is “Denominazione di Origine Controllata”, which means that the pizza they serve abides by strict regulations set in Italy for what proper Neopolitan Pizza should be. They have a section of their website dedicated to D.O.C. pizza, and after reading this I realize just how seriously Italians take their pizza.

Suppli

Eat your heart out Mozzarella Sticks

The interior of 2 Amy’s is that of the classic pizzeria: a lot of tile, a lot of black and white, and a lot of hungry people. Despite it being around Six O’Clock we didn’t have any problem getting a table right away (Gchat did tell me a horror story about an hour long wait though). We each ordered a beer to properly begin our meal. I went with Old Speckled Hen, an English Pale Ale thought I thought would go pretty well with pizza (Spikes and Gchat went with Hefeweizens). One thing that we saw a lot of people at nearby tables eating were these round fried balls, I initially misclassified them as arancini, but they were actually suppli a telefono. The suppli were perfectly fried and once you broke through the outer shell, the creaminess of the rice and the mozzarella together was fantastic.

Crusts

This is what I dreamt about that night.

We ordered two pizzas to share between the three of us and combined with the suppli, it was definitely enough food. I don’t know if it’s the whole D.O.C. pizza thing, but this felt like simply the purest or cleanest pizza I’ve ever eaten. The first pizza we ordered was the Margherita (at the suggestion of Gchat). The pizza was superb but the crust and the buffala mozzarella stood head and shoulders above everything else in the pie. The quality of ingredients to make the dough combine with the wood oven used to cook the pie to create simply the best crust I’ve ever eaten. While I was eating my slices I wondered to myself why I never ate the crusts as a kid. I just never had crusts like these, never. The mozzarella was perfectly melted and just exploded, filling your mouth with an intense creaminess and salty undertones with each bite. If the crust is the foundation, the cheese the bricks, then the sauce is the mortar of the pizza. It did a great job of bringing the pie together creating this necessary counterpart to the buffala mozzarella.

Norcia
Try getting a reservation at Norcia now….

The second pie that we ordered was the Norcia, which had salami, grilled peppers, fresh mozzarella (Yes, there is a difference between fresh mozzarella and buffala mozzarella), and grana (similar to paremseano reggiano). I personally enjoyed this pizza a bit more than the Margherita. It’s more substantial and I’ve always been a big fan of peppers on pizza. The salami on the Norcia was definitely high quality and made the pizza in my opinion. The big slices of delicious, salty salami just seemed to cover the entire pie and perfectly complimented the salty fresh mozzarella. Grilled peppers by themselves are fairly bland, but when added to other things seem to elevate them. I don’t know how this works, but it does.

I really enjoyed my meal at 2 Amy’s. They took a simple concept (pizza) and DID IT RIGHT. Simple might be the definitive word for Amy’s. The decor, the menu, and the food was all simple. But it was all done properly and was put together well to create a fantastic place. I really took notice of the quality of ingredients, everything on the Norcia could be on a great antipasto platter. While the price hints at the quality of ingredients used, they don’t use it as justification to gouge you and I for one appreciate that. 2 Amy’s is a lot like Ray’s Hellburger, you will leave here extremely satisfied.

2 Amy’s Website

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Note: The images used in this review are not my own. Clicking on them will take you to the original website.








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